Marketing your Business – Laying the Foundations, Fiona Duncan-Steer, RSViP

Fiona Duncan-Steer, founder of RSViP Business Networking Agency, suggests 10 ways of marketing your business – at least three of which should be chosen to encourage business growth.

  1. Website

Your website is the window to your business – what do you do the moment you hear of a company that interests you?  You ‘Google’ (other search engines are available) their company name to find their ‘website’.

Some sites are often simply used as an online brochure to showcase that business’s service directed solely at their existing clients, however the best kind of website offers a much more functional and interactive experience for its user, incorporating blogs, social media, forums etc.

Whatever style of website you opt for, just ensure you have one that it is visually exciting, represents your brand well, is simple to navigate through, and most importantly that it can be found via SEO (Search engine optimisation).

  1. Direct Marketing

This may not work for everyone, but with the digital age taking over us all in every aspect of life and business, it is easy to forget about the simple yet effective forms of marketing we all relied so heavily on ‘back in the day’ – having ‘hard copy’ information to hand, such as leaflets and brochures which sum up and explain your business services are always useful.

There will always be opportunities to hand them out on your travels, at network events, exhibitions, business meetings etc., so my advice is to have some up to date versions printed at least every few months and commission a reputable company to deliver some bumph for you – either independently or inserted within a relevant publication within your geographical target location.

You could go one step further and hand deliver or post out your creative ‘campaign’ to a selection of potential clients on your wish list too, as this shows gumption and innovation.

  1. Social Media

One of the world’s biggest obsessions is social media for both business and personal use, with Twitter and LinkedIn now totalling an average of 830 million users between them.  LinkedIn recruit two new users every second alone!

Those stats are outrageous, yet there are still so many people choosing not to get on board with social media for business.  Love it or loathe it social media is one of the fastest ways of making new contacts and connections in business, and above all it’s FREE!

  1. Advertising & PR

This obviously comes in many forms – magazine, newspaper, radio, television, transportation such as buses, trams and taxi’s, billboards etc., all of which will cost you money, so choosing which would work best for your business is the most important aspect when deciding where to allocate your marketing budget. Most of these options will offer free information packs, rate cards and media packs, so spend a bit of time doing your research and get requesting so that you can make an informed decision before committing – remember to look at stats of distribution/listeners/viewers/users and the reputation and experience of the PR company you are in talks with.

Essentially you are allocating budget for them to put you on the map and shout about you on your behalf, so ensure you are getting good value for money and that they understand fully what your message is, as well as how you wish your brand to be portrayed.

  1. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is the most priceless form of marketing – if someone likes what you do, they will tell an average of six other people. Think how that could escalate. Before you know it you have gained new business from recommendation and referral and all you had to do to get it was to conduct your business in the appropriate way, offer exceptional customer service and manage your customer’s expectations – something that all businesses should be doing anyway!

Ask your clients to write testimonials that you can post on your websites, social media & on your marketing material – if people think you are doing something right then you may as well shout about it.

  1. E-Marketing

Or ‘Email Marketing’ is a great way of spreading the word of your business at a quick rate.  Keep a database. Set up a CRM system to send regular mail/newsletters to your clients and subscribers.

You should always ensure you update your database regularly with new and potential clients (with their permission of course circa GDPR) and encouraging new data can also be done by adding a ‘subscribe’ option on your website to allow people for example to ‘subscribe to your free newsletter’ – this is a sure fire way of capturing details of those who are interested in your services, so that you can keep them up to date with new products and services.

  1. Exhibitions/Events

Depending on the nature of your business and your demographic, these are not necessarily for everyone. However, business exhibitions and events have really become a huge form of effective marketing due to the opportunities they provide businesses to interact, network and above all ‘showcase’ their wares and services to an audience specific to their market – It is easy to book a stand at every event you hear about, which can take up a lot of time out of the office, so perhaps set yourself a goal of doing three or four good quality, relevant events per year and allocate a budget toward these in good time.

  1. Radio

Radio advertising is not necessarily the cheapest form of advertising your business, but for some companies it is the perfect way of spreading the word, whether it is regionally or nationally, a catchy jingle or attention grabbing voice over is often one of the best ways to get across to an extremely wide audience.

  1. Video Marketing

Nothing works better than the theory of ‘seeing it for yourself’ and so a good quality promotional video that represents your company and shows at a glance what it is you offer as a service is a great form of marketing and, as we are in the digital age, it will show that you are moving with the times and are forward thinking – add your video to the home page of your website, your social media sites and E-newsletters, and why not have a go at video blogging yourself if you are the face of your business – this can be extremely powerful.

  1. Networking

Networking IS one of the most cost effective and productive forms of gaining new business.  Baring in mind it is no quick fix, networking is about building relationships over a period of time through face to face meetings or at organised events, often B2B (business to business) with some network events offering industry specific opportunities, and others offering a more diverse range of industry professionals for you to meet, some requiring speeches and presentations, and others offering a more relaxed, open networking kind of approach – each are down to your specific needs and preference.

Not all of the above will suit or be attractive to you and your business, however at least three or four of these should be in force in order for you to create a positive marketing impact and encourage business growth.